WAKE FOREST — Dorian Kwame Cunningham laid on the floor of his second-story apartment early Wednesday evening gasping for breath.
His girlfriend, Krystal Terin Delgado, called 911 just after 6 p.m. to report that Cunningham had tripped over a box and fell onto a knife inside the box.
“He didn’t know the knife was in the box,” Delgado told an emergency dispatcher, according to a copy of the 911 recording made public this week.
The dispatcher told Delgado to make sure that the knife stayed in Cunningham’s chest.
“It’s already out,” Delgado replied. “He came off of it.”
About eight minutes later, police arrived at the apartment Cunningham and Delgado shared at the Glen Royall Mill Apartments on North Main Street. Investigators did not buy Delgado’s story about Cunningham tripping over a box and falling onto a knife. They charged her with first-degree murder.
Cunningham and Delgado struggled with a troubled relationship.
Police visited the apartment at least 12 times in recent months, including last month to investigate a domestic-related disturbance, said town spokesman Bill Crabtree.
Police also went to the apartment last May after Delgado’s mother called 911 and asked investigators to check on her daughter, Crabtree said.
Cunningham also was experiencing legal issues that involved drinking and driving, court records show. He was scheduled to appear in Wake County District Court on March 27 on charges of driving while impaired. Police charged Cunningham with the offense Dec. 20, just eight days after he had been sentenced to one year of probation after being found guilty of driving while impaired, state records show.
Early on in her conversation with the dispatcher Wednesday night, Delgado said Cunningham was still breathing. Later, she said there was no sign of blood coming from the stab wound in his chest.
“I want you to tell me each time he takes a breath in,” the dispatcher told Delgado.
The request was followed by silence.
“Is he taking a breath in?” the dispatcher asked.
“No,” Delgado answered.
Delgado was calm and quiet during the exchange with the dispatcher and complied with a final request to turn Cunningham on his back, tilt his head back and perform mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.
Soon afterward, police and emergency workers knocked on the door. Someone asked, “What happened?”
Emergency workers transported Cunningham to WakeMed, where he died, Crabtree said.
Police took Delgado in for questioning. She was booked into the Wake County jail about 7:30 a.m. Thursday. She remained in custody Friday afternoon without benefit of bail, a jail spokesman said.
News researchers Brooke Cain and Teresa Leonard contributed to this report.